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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Is there too much competition in your language pair?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:33
SITE STAFF
Apr 6, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is there too much competition in your language pair?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ty Kendall. View the poll results »



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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
Member (2011)
Hebrew to English
Justifying the question.... Apr 6, 2012

I understand that even within language pairs there are different markets and the competitiveness may vary across specialities too. I was trying to keep it simple though, just to gain a general overview/insight into different language pairs.

I was interested in this question as my preconception before entering the arena was that "minority" (rarer, lesser taught - whatever you want to call them) languages would possibly have less competition than the "titans" (French, German, Spanish etc). To some degree I still see that as the case, the advanced directory shows many thousands of French/Spanish translators for example but only a few hundred Greek translators (>English). However, statistics only give you a one-dimensional view and aren't necessarily a reflection of the truth, which is why I'd like to hear about your experiences....

Thank you!

[Edited at 2012-04-06 08:27 GMT]


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
English to French
+ ...
yes most definitely Apr 6, 2012

English => French - hell yes!!!! only the best translators can survive

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Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:33
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
English>Spanish Apr 6, 2012

Not even the best translators can survive. You will surely not see me around soon, hopefully.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Supply and demand for Spanish-English Apr 6, 2012

When I started out in 2005 there seemed to be a serious shortage of ES-EN translators within the Spanish market, which is where nearly all the demand for my language pair is generated in Europe. Within six weeks of canvassing for work it was coming in thick and fast and clients appeared to be struggling to find translators. In hindsight, if I had been a bit more astute/confident in my abilities, I think I could have blagged much higher rates, but I was just happy and relieved at the time to have any work at all.

But it was a time when Spain was booming, the construction/residential tourism industry was going crazy and the government were chucking money about. Businesses were investing a lot in development and internationalisation, which inevitably meant translating material into English. On the supply side of things, Spanish is traditionally the third-choice foreign language in UK schools after French and German, so it makes sense that there was a shortfall in Spanish to UK English translators. I'm not sure the same can be said now, post-recession; I know some translators trying to start out are struggling in my language pair.


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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 22:33
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Apr 6, 2012

In Spanish to English, definitely, and what really rankles is the fact that a large part of it (athough not all) is from non-natives or otherwise insufficiently qualified chancers. I do understand need and desperation, having experienced them myself at various times, but still...

I'd better lay off now before I start on the Google rant again too...

Happy Holidays everybody


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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 22:33
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Decline and falloff Apr 6, 2012


Simon Bruni wrote:

When I started out in 2005 there seemed to be a serious shortage of ES-EN translators within the Spanish market... But it was a time when Spain was booming, ... I'm not sure the same can be said now, post-recession; I know some translators trying to start out are struggling in my language pair.


Very true. Rates have also been affected and clients and agencies are now much more concerned with getting a better deal. Some direct clients who never asked for estimates now tend to do so for each individual project that comes up; in fact, the last time I was asked for one, they said they had to consult their accountant and never got back to me (I bet they ended up doing it themselves, as their own spoken and written level is quite good and they are often more concerned with speed rather than quality). Official bodies such as regional authorities who used to accept rates of 12 or 15 cents a word without blinking are now reluctant to pay more than 9 or 10, if you're lucky.
People starting out nowadays in Spain certainly have a much harder time of it than I did 15 years ago, and I reckon I only survive because of the contacts I’ve made over the years.


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Patricia Prevost  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, definitely: English to Spanish Apr 6, 2012

I agree with tseliot. And it's a bit frustrating, really.

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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 00:33
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Disorderly laying of running tracks Apr 6, 2012

Sometimes the world records in translation are made by mutually oncoming athlets running at a very high speed The fans are very glad...

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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Perhaps Apr 6, 2012

There are many, possibly too many, people trying to enter the market but I don't think that there are too many highly specialized translators, at least not in the area of legal translation.

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Gallagy
Ireland
Local time: 21:33
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
huge competition for -into English translation Apr 6, 2012

It seems to me that the world and his mother think they can translate into English! This basically means that agencies and clients are constantly trying to drive down prices. I've been told a few times in the past year that my rates are too high (Spanish and French to English)whereas I think they are very reasonable (and I have no intention of joining the mad race to the bottom). Agencies have many people to choose from who "translate" into English so can offer low rates but the quality of translation is bound to suffer.
It's quite obvious from some of the derisory rates offered for jobs on this and other websites that there are many so-called "translators" willing to work for peanuts. Of course it's cheaper to live in many non-European countries so these 2/3cent a word rates could be considered a king's ransom and provide a decent lifestyle in some places. However, don't even get me started on the "English" of these people! We have all seen some of the resulting mishmash, gibberish and pidgin English on our travels (and on this site)!
There have been several Forum discussions about people mis-using Kudos to get their work translated and while I didn't see it as a huge problem before, now see that none of us should really help these chancers get translations done, who are thus taking work away from people who could actually do the research and translation themselves. So, these days I'm clicking "non-pro"on these questions.


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:33
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
French more competitive than Russian. Apr 6, 2012

I translate from French to English and Russian to English, but in practice I get much more work from the Russian side as the French is more competitive.

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mcinemre
France
Local time: 22:33
French to Turkish
+ ...
turkish > french Apr 6, 2012

Not really competitive...

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's the point Apr 6, 2012


Stanislaw Czech wrote:
There are many, possibly too many, people trying to enter the market but I don't think that there are too many highly specialized translators, at least not in the area of legal translation.


Not only legal, but all areas. The problem stems from most clients being unable to judge what they are getting from translators, and that being directly caused by their need to hire translation services.

So people expect that anyone bilingual - or even sesquilingual - will be able to translate to fulfill their needs. Students, as well as part-time employed, unemployed and retired people decide to make some extra money from translation. No matter how little they get, it's a way to occupy their spare time, especially because they can work from home.

So, as I said, it's not a matter of highly specialized translators in the legal area, but there is an overabundance of "translators" worldwide who are definitely NOT specialized in translation!

Repeating:
A bilingual person is someone capable of expressing their own ideas in two different languages, while a translator is a person skilled in expressing someone else's ideas faithfully and accurately in a language different from the one in which they were originally issued.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:33
Member
English to French
No Apr 6, 2012

If there were too much competition in my language pair, I'd have to work more at lower rates (ie rates that are not satisfying for me).
I (and family) can live comfortably from translation, so there is not "too much" competition.

Philippe


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